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Are asbestos companies really victims of those who die?

Some things are simply incredible. The latest big news in asbestos litigation is a case involving Garlock. The company manufactured gaskets using asbestos. They have been sued repeatedly by thousands of victims of asbestos exposure who had contracted asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The company, like most asbestos companies, lost most cases.

In this case, as judge who was handling his first asbestos litigation, appears to have made some troubling decisions, which do not appear to make much sense, except of course, to the defense attorneys representing the company and its insurance companies. And it potentially harms the tens of thousands of veterans who were unknowing exposed to deadly asbestos.

What is sad is that these companies knew the dangers of asbestos. Various companies in the U.K. and the United States recognized there was a problem with asbestos as early as the 1920s. They learned of the danger in a very real and concrete fashion: their employees began dying.

What is more they did not die randomly, but with similar lung ailments and illnesses. Did these manufacturers do the right thing, and immediately warn their employees of the danger and require that they use protective clothing when working with asbestos?

No, instead, they engaged in decades of denial that there was a problem with asbestos. They fought any regulation of asbestos in a fashion similar to the tobacco companies and their attempts to deny the connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.

Because mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos exposure, the asbestos companies have no defense to claims that something other than asbestos caused the mesothelioma. They attempt to play the shell game that it was someone else's asbestos.

In this case, they appear to have created the impression that in spite of the thousands of victims dying every year from mesothelioma, they are the real victims.

Given their history, we find their arguments lacking in credibility, or as they say, incredible.

Source: The Huffington Post, "An Asbestos Decision That Disserves Our Vets," Joanne Doroshow, May 8, 2014

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